Sex Workers Rights: Why Are We Never Offered Protection?

Sex work is work
In 2018 America had already seen advertising platforms such as Backpage shutdown amidst the signing of SESTA/FOSTA Act in 2018. This was one of the world’s biggest advertising sites for sex workers, and the closure forced people to return to unsafe street work. Having “job boards” such as this allowed workers to vet their clients efficiently and from a safe distance. Now we are seeing more of this happening across the world underneath “The Nordic Model” and it’s up to us to make sure we stand up for our rights.

What is The Nordic Model?

The Nordic Model approach to prostitution (sometimes also known as the Sex Buyer Law, or theSwedish, Abolitionist, or Equality Model) decriminalises all those who are prostituted, provides support services to help them exit, and makes buying people for sex a criminal offence, in order to reduce the demand that drives sex trafficking. This approach has now been adopted in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Ireland, and most recently, Israel.

Extract from The Nordic Model

Why should we be worried about it?

The goal of the Nordic Model is to cut off the supply by criminalising the demand. When an adult makes a decision of her, his, or their own free will to exchange sex for money, that is a form of consensual sex. It is an old school belief that Women don’t choose to get into sex work. Reasons are that it means they have more control over their bodies, and more control about how they choose to earn their money. We should be worried about The Nordic Model because rights as sex workers have never fully been established, despite it being “the worlds oldest profession”. This model tells clients, kinksters and submissives that being able to explore their sexuality is wrong and they could be arrested for it, and potentially pushes sex workers out of their jobs as providers.

Criminalisation makes it harder for sex workers to find safe places to work, unionize, work together and support and protect one another, advocate for their rights, or even open a bank account for their business. It stigmatizes and marginalizes sex workers and leaves them vulnerable to abuse by professionals and civilians, as their work and their clients are still criminalized.

What can we do about it?

Make sure that we sign every petition that comes our way about decriminalisation of sex work. You can start with this one now: Don’t criminalise paying for sex – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/563987 . It’s important to advocate for decriminalisation and not legalisation. Decriminalisation means that when sex is decriminalised, criminal charges are not applied to sex workers for just doing their jobs. This means we can also work towards gaining key rights, including to justice and health care, meaning protection, dignity, and equality.

Legalisation on the other hand means that a government is telling consenting adults who they can have sexual relations with and on what terms. People should have the human right to personal autonomy and privacy.

Legalisation makes sex work a criminal offence meaning we are forced to work in unsafe locations to avoid the police. This makes us more vulnerable to violence, including rape, assault, and murder, by attackers who see us as easy targets because we are already stigmatized and unlikely to receive help from the police. In criminalized environments, it has also been proven that police officers harass sex workers, extort bribes, and physically and verbally abuse sex workers, or even rape or coerce sex from them because they are not protected by rights.

You can find out more by watching this Ted Talk by Juno Mac :

What happens when the petition reaches 10,000 signatures?

At 10,000 signatures, government will respond to this petition.

And then what happens at 100,000 signatures…

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

So please sign this immediately and share this on your social media. Don’t criminalise paying for sex – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/563987 

Sex workers livelihoods and your kinky fun is at risk. Thank you.

Written exclusively for Female Fetish Federation

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